European Union prepares to curb use of AI in law enforcement

New legislation that would heavily regulate the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the justice system has begun to make its way through the European Parliament.

Members have voted 377 to 248 to approve a report by the parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs which has proposed tighter controls.

The use of AI in this space has long been controversial due to issues of bias, opaque decision-making processes and mystery coding.

While acceptance of the report is no guarantee that the legislation will go through or reflect the findings of the report, it is a strong indication that the European Union (EU) intends to strictly control the use of AI in the justice system. It is likely that the use of AI in mass surveillance, to make court rulings or predict the likelihood that an individual will commit a crime, will be banned.

This is in stark contrast to the post-Brexit UK, which is trialling various AI in law enforcement, including the likelihood of recidivism based on age, gender and prior history.

Facial recognition technology is also being used by various police departments in the UK to combat a range of crimes, despite concerns about its use of inherently biased data. The UK Government is working with the Alan Turing Institute to develop an ethical framework for using AI in the criminal justice system but is yet to produce a final model.

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